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A bit of history...
Antoine Auguste Agénor Armand de Gramont
(1879-1962), Duke of Guiche and 12th Duke of Gramont, prince of Bidache, was a French entrepreneur and scientist.
Although he had dreamt to become a painter and did expose one of his paintings at a French Exhibit in the early 1900’s, his family pushed him into some more serious studies and he graduated in science in 1902.
He founded the French Institute for Optical Science and the École Supérieure d’Optique, for which he became the lifelong chairman.
Armand de Gramont had developed this interest for optic during World War I, when he noticed, as a soldier, that the French Army lacked precision optical equipment and lacked also the engineers to design then. He then promoted the creation of such an Institute that was finally made official by the government in 1916 and actually started activities in 1920.
He also founded in 1919 the OPL company, « Optique et Précision de Levallois », with the French Army as its main customer.
In 1938, Armand de Gramont had a new facility built in Châteaudun in order to diversify its production into commercial products and attract the best engineering, technical, and manufacturing talent. The company manufactured for many years the famous FOCA cameras.
1967 marked the real start for the hydraulics activity, based on the very high precision know-how of OPL. The company name changed to SOPELEM and the very first servo-valves were shipped to serve on the Concorde braking system.
In 1986, SOPELEM became L’HYDRAULIQUE DE CHATEAUDUN (LHC)
In 1994, LHC took over LE BOZEC AERONAUTIQUE, another famous brand for aerospace hydraulic components, created in 1921, and the same year, LHC became part of the INTERTECHNIQUE group under the name of IN-LHC. Both companies joined the Aircraft Systems Division of ZODIAC in 1999, and has been contributing since then to its success story and continuous growth.
In 2013, IN-LHC becomes Zodiac Hydraulics.